Joan Hammond Underkuffler
1922 – 2018

FARMINGTON – Joan Hammond Underkuffler completed her journey in this life on Oct. 25, 2018, in Farmington. She was cheerful and gracious to all, throughout her final months and at the moment of her departure for the next life.

Joan was born on Nov. 22, 1922 in Auburn. She was born on a small family dairy farm on Hardscrabble Road, the second of seven children. She was the daughter of Marjorie Thomas Hammond of Sumner, and Oswald Kenric Hammond of Auburn. With the loss of her father to pneumonia, when she was 12, Joan assumed the responsibilities of a grown-up, as the family struggled through the Great Depression.

Joan was taught at home by her father’s mother, as were her siblings, until the seventh grade. She was then able to attend Webster Junior High School, in Auburn. She graduated from Edward Little High School as co-salutatorian in 1940, and received a scholarship to Bates College in Lewiston. She graduated from Bates in 1944.

After graduation from college, Joan took a job as a social worker, in a children’s home, in Bangor. She then worked as a social worker, in Easton, Penn.  It was there that she met her husband, Frank Walter Underkuffler, who was in Easton, studying at Lafayette College after serving in the Marine Corps, in World War II. The night they met on a double date, Frank wrote in his diary, “Had dinner with Joan, a wonderful girl. My future wife, I hope.” They were married in 1945 and moved to Haddonfield, N.J., which was near the town where Frank grew up.

Joan and Frank lived in Haddonfield, and then Haddon Heights, N.J., Frank’s home town, for many years. It was there that their three children (Fran, Laura, and Frank) were born. Joan later obtained a Masters Degree in Education at Rutgers University, and taught first grade in Barrington, N.J. She often talked about how she loved working with small children, particularly those who were challenged by perceptual and other learning disabilities. She deeply believed that education was one of the purest joys in life, and she found her calling in helping children discover this truth.

Upon the death of her husband in 1987, Joan decided to return to the place of her roots, and moved back to Maine. She lived in Farmington for almost thirty years, working for her church, other community organizations, and the social service causes of her retired teachers’ organization in Maine. She also spent hours with her family and grew magnificent dahlias for the Franklin County Fair.

Although two near-fatal bouts with rheumatic fever, at ages eight and 37, permanently damaged her heart, her careful diet and determined exercise regimen brought her back, both times, and she surprised everyone by nearly reaching her ninety-seventh year. For her family, Joan provided the gravitational center of strength, tolerance, unconditional love, and wisdom that taught us how to live well and for others. The patience that she extended to the needs of her grandchildren and grandpets was so legendary that there was never a question of anything but warmth and forgiveness. She immeasurably enriched all of our lives and we will all miss her greatly.

Joan was predeceased by her parents; by her brother, George Simms Hammond, and by her sisters, Rosemund Hammond Morrill, Alice Hammond Humes, and Kathryn Hammond Field.

She is survived by her brother, Oswyn Kenric Hammond, of Medway, Mass., and her sister, Esther Hammond Cooper, of Sumner. She is also survived by her children, Frances Underkuffler Mochida and her husband, Shigeru Mochida, of Princeton, N.J., Laura Simms Underkuffler and her husband, David Nowlin, of Portland, and Frank Metz Underkuffler and his wife, LuAnn Yetter, of Farmington. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Nathaniel Underkuffler and his wife, Justina Huddleston, of Van Nuys, Calif., Wilson Underkuffler and his wife, Rebekah Cumpsty, of Ogden, Utah, Katharine Knight and her husband, Anthony Knight, of El Paso, Texas, and Anna Freund of Northampton, Mass.

A service celebrating Joan’s life will be held at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, 110 Academy Street, in Farmington, on Saturday, November 3 at 2 pm. Interment will be at Colestown Cemetery, in Colestown, Cherry Hill Township, N.J.

Condolences and tributes may be shared on her memorial wall  Arrangements are in the care of the Wiles Remembrance Center: Adams-McFarlane Chapel, 137 Farmington Falls Road, Routes 2 and 27, Farmington.

Memorials, in lieu of flowers, can be given to the

Henderson Memorial

Baptist Church

in Joan’s name

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